SAN ANGELO, TX — Tuesday at noon (August 16), Project Destiny San Angelo officially launched with a donor luncheon at the San Angelo Country Club. The crowd at the event overflowed. Pastor Mack Roller, head of Glen Meadows Baptist Church, coordinated the venue and said he expected 80 to attend based upon RSVPs received from the personal invitations. Country club staff worked tirelessly to add more tables as the crowd swelled to over 130.
Project Destiny San Angelo is a Political Action Committee organized two months ago to run a political campaign to convince San Angelo voters to approve adding a City ordinance that will ban abortions inside the city limits. Pastor Ryan Buck of Immanuel Baptist Church originally organized the effort in 2021. Since then, his committee has grown to include pastors from other San Angelo churches and known political leaders such as State Senator Charles Perry.
At Tuesday’s luncheon, the audience learned from a panel of experts about the nationwide movement to make make municipalities sanctuary cities for the unborn. In west Texas, Lubbock is so far the largest municipality to adopt the ordinance. Lubbock joined 41 other smaller Texas cities who also have the ordinance in place. In our region, those cities include Sterling City, Colorado City, Westbrook, Big Spring, Ackerly, Goldsmith, Anson, Impact, Cisco, Eastland, Gorman, and Carbon.
The latest push by pro-life organizers is to gain acceptance of the ordinance in larger cities like San Angelo and Abilene. Both cities have the ordinance on the ballot for the November 8 election.
Senator Perry told the crowd that San Angelo and Abilene are part of what conservative and Republican political leaders in Austin call “The Magnificent Seven.” The Seven refers to Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo, Wichita Falls, Abilene, San Angelo, Midland, and Odessa.
“Without these voters, Texas would have already turned blue,” Perry told the audience.
Large majority Republican voters in “The Magnificent Seven” cities act as a counterweight to suburban circles around deep blue urban centers in Texas that are rapidly turning into Democrat vote centers. About 20 years ago those same suburban areas voted solidly Republican. For example, Williamson County located north of Austin has shifted blue as it has become a bedroom community for workers in Austin in deep blue Travis County. Even Houston’s Energy Corridor on west I-10 towards Katy, once a Republican stronghold in Harris County, has turned purple.
The panel discussed the need for the ordinance that bans abortion in the post-Roe world. With Roe v. Wade overturned, some in the audience wondered why San Angelo needs to implement the ordinance.
Panelist Mike Stevens, the Lubbock political consultant from Lubbock who Project Destiny San Angelo hired to manage the campaign, was a panelist along with Ryan Buck and Senator Perry. Ron Herrin of Lubbock, whose wife is among a group called “The Five Grandmothers” who founded the sanctuary city movement in Lubbock, also joined the panel to describe how Lubbock’s citizens have reacted to the new law now in effect.
Stevens said there are a few cities in Texas that are working to diminish the enforcement of the statewide abortion ban called the “Heartbeat Act” that mandates a physician test for a “fetal heartbeat” (or “cardiac activity”) before performing an abortion and prohibits abortion if a “fetal heartbeat” is detected unless the life of the mother is in danger. Those cities include Denton, El Paso and, of course, Austin. “This San Angelo ordinance is a pushback against that,” Stevens said. He added that by putting it on the books today will make it harder for future city councils to overturn as it will require another ballot initiative. The ordinance also sends a message to Austin that this part of Texas and San Angelo specifically is in agreement with the current legislation. There is also a question as to what will happen to the statewide Heartbeat Act should someday the Texas Legislature shift into Democratic Party control.
“Without this ordinance we are left up to the state to decide what to do. This builds a fence around San Angelo,” Stevens said.
Perry said supporting the campaign and passing the ordinance is most importantly the right thing to do. He made an impassioned speech following the panel discussion about his Christian faith and how his faith brought him to fight abortion that he views as an abomination against God.
The citywide campaign to pass the ordinance is estimated to cost as much as $105,000. Following the end of the luncheon, Buck told the event raised $35,000. The initiative will be on the November 8 ballot for all voters registerer to vote inside the city limits. Early voting is October 24-November 4.
Another fundraising event is being planned for late September or early October. For more details about Project Destiny San Angelo, see the website that is also linked to the PAC’s social media profiles.